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'This American Life' says it's revealed Coca-Cola's top secret recipe [Updated]

February 15, 2011 | 11:26 am

"This American Life" -- the popular public radio program -- says it's uncovered Coca Cola's secret recipe.

If true, it would appear to blow the lid off one of the most closely guarded secrets in U.S. corporate history. After all, legend has it that the recipe is tucked away in a bank vault, and that no more than two executives ever know the full recipe at any given time, as a safeguard to keep rivals from stealing it. According to the radio program, some of the ingredients that give Coca-Cola its unique taste include coriander and cinnamon. Click below to read the full recipe.

But here's where this story gets weirder, and why we'll need to keep tabs on it: "This American Life" is supposedly quoting the recipe from a 1979 article that ran inside the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which is the hometown paper to the Atlanta-based Coca Cola Co. We called and e-mailed Coca Cola for official word. We will keep you posted on what they say. And you can be sure there will be more to say: The flood of interest has apparently overloaded the radio program's website.

Best headline we've seen so far comes courtesy of those wags over at the Daily Mail: "Is this the real thing?"

I, personally, will reserve judgment. But if "This American Life" gets credit for revealing the secret recipe to Coca-Cola after it ran in the Atlanta newspaper 30 years ago, I would like credit for "discovering" the Grand Canyon on the trip I took to Arizona.

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Joshua Lott / Reuters

Updated at 12:17 p.m. to add the receipe

Here's the recipe, from Time via "This American Life":

Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 ounces
Caffeine: 1 ounce
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gallons
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 ounce
Caramel: 1.5 ounces or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 ounces of flavor to 5 gallons of syrup):
Alcohol:  8 ounces
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops